London resident: 'It seemed like a war zone'
Fires engulf shops and residences in Croydon, England on Tuesday.
August 9th, 2011
10:16 AM ET

London resident: 'It seemed like a war zone'

Graciela Watson watched aghast from her home in Hackney on Monday as "yobs" barricaded her normally quiet residential street with burning trash cans and clashed repeatedly with police.

She had witnessed tension building as she made her way home in the afternoon, having to take a different route than usual with her two children - both under three - to avoid crowds of people throwing missiles.

"We didn't think it would come up our street, but it started here," she said. Troublemaking youths, or yobs, gathered trash bins from outside the houses on the street and set them alight to form flaming barricades, she said.

"That's when we realized trouble was coming our way," Watson, a filmmaker and former journalist said.

The youths then set fire to a van and soon the clashes with police began in earnest, carrying on in her street for well over an hour.

Meanwhile, asleep at the back of the ground floor apartment were Watson's two young children, both under three - and there was no way for the family to leave the apartment except by the front door.

"It was kind of strange," Watson said. "You are scared but there's also a very strange kind of adrenaline almost, as you watch everything unfold in front of you.

"Watching on the TV, hearing your street being named, seeing your neighborhood in flames around you - you are terrified but almost excited at the same time."

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soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Leighton

    It IS a war zone.
    Don't you understand?

    August 9, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. HelenHull102951

    It appears that our British friends are evolving into dirty greasy stinking mexicans.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Or dirty stinkin Americans ...

      August 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pam

    I just relocated to London from the US and the rioting here is a group of thugs that are destroying their own communities. This is vandalism and thievery gone wild. The Police need to use force as that is all this group of "citizens" seem to understand. You don't see any arrests on the news or even much of a Police presence. For all the taxes the real citizens here pay, they are not getting served.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. JIM

    Yeah. They need to start shooting them. At least with the rubber bullets. Ive heard reports many of those rioting are reacent muslim immigrants and black youth.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. JIM

    The muslim youth do the same thing every few years in Paris.

    August 9, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. Rod O'Hara

    Rubber bullets, pepper spray, water cannon would stop and cure these out of contol and mainly foreign resident thugs to the shores of the UK. The police should start to get tough its the the only language these thugs understand. I say send them all bak home if they are caught causing trouble.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mack

    I agree. Both London and Paris have been invaded by hoodlums who should have stayed where they were born.
    Civilization does not need that element.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Monsters INC/CNN

    Growllll! Aren't you all scared? .. Please be scared.. Our economy is driven by the screams of scared children..

    August 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hoe

    Blacks and muslims cause trouble wherever they go. They are animals.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy

    If people don't think it can't happen here, think again.
    Remember Rodney King and Reginald Denney, people.
    It CAN happen here!

    August 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. tiff

    Please explain why everyone always blames MUSLIMS. This has nothing to do with religion. Muslims have become the scapegooat so others don't have To take responsibility and accountability foe their actions or actions that lead to things like this. When people take to the streets in something like this and yes it has happened in America Canada and elsehwere its not always A Muslim its not always a black person. Maybe if society and white people would quit blaming a percentage of the population foe things that occur due to the govt actions or inactions You wouldn't see this. Couple of months ago in Canada broke out due to hockey games that wasn't mulsims or blacks. When this happens here in America which it will given our economic and shredding of civil rights who will they balme then? Everyone has to take a shared responsibility. Do we go and murder people in the streets because they are fed up with police brutality and the fact govt is failing them. Open Your eyes people, one cannot blame religion or one particular group for all the worlds mess. If uku do you need to blame Americans and white people who feel they are superior and US means to keeps others down. Look at history. I am a white American who looks outside the box ad can think for myself. What are you?

    August 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Punctuation

    I am punctuation, tiff. Learn it, use it. Your post was painful to get through.

    August 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jilly

    well, well, well, seems Londoners are a bunch of racist name calling cry babies. Maybe the cops shouldn't have used deadly force on the victim that started this. maybe a little 'British' respect for all peoples is in order. oh...wait...I forgot, they're mostly snobby bigots, never-mind.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. saywhat

    @jim @RodO'Hara @ Mack
    What a load of nonsense.
    hooliganism in European cities has always been the hall markk of whites.Be it sports or strikes or vandalism.

    Folks its guys with this twisted bent of mind who are responsible for destroying the fabric of a society in any culture, with hate, fear & paranoia they spread around.

    Unfortunately we have this kind in America too, KKK 7 such nuts. The 60's saw us bashing blacks. before it were Jews & now muslims.
    One reason of our rapis decline since Invasion of Iraq.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. saywhat

    sorry for the typos guys. Read 'KKK & such'. And 'rapid decline'.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
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